(Bonn, 13.10.2015) Prof. Thomas Schirrmacher, the Chairman of the Theological Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance, championed the idea that global Christian unity is no end in itself, when speaking to Christian leaders of global bodies like the World Council of Churches and international representatives of denominations at the Jehu Forum of the Global Forum for the Future of Christianity, rather, it only makes sense when it serves the gospel of the same Jesus who calls us to unity.
“If the Triune God is in the center, then unity emerges. When Jesus Christ is in the center, then unity emerges. When the gospel is in the center, then unity emerges. Only the Holy Spirit can transform the life of an individual, of many people, of humanity; indeed, only the Holy Spirit can transform the entire creation,” to quote Schirrmacher verbatim.
“It is not a matter of unity per se, regardless of where it is found. That we as Christians and as institutions embody unity is senseless, even detrimental, if belief in the Triune God and the gospel of Jesus Christ have to be watered down. Conversely, the following applies: Whoever places all of this in the center can do nothing other than advocate unity, even if it appears to be impossible to achieve.”
Gordon Showell-Rogers, Deputy Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance, emphasized in his Bible study that in his view the Bible is full of examples that God works completely differently and has completely different goals than people. For this reason, Churches never attach themselves to worldly and politically correct goals and never only trust secular methods. Rather, they always have to count on God’s completely different way of acting.
The President of the Pentecostal World Fellowship, DrPrince Guneratnam from Malaysia, backed the position of the World Evangelical Alliance. The Holy Spirit, said Gneratnam, creates not just any unity, but according to Jesus’ words to the woman at the well in John 4 a unity in joint „worship in spirit and in truth“.
Schirrmacher and Showell-Rogers also had an in-depth meeting with the pastors of the largest churches of the four largest denominations in Korea, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, Methodists, and Baptists. The meeting was led by Rev. Dr. Lee Young-Hoon, the successor of Yonggi Cho in the largest congregation of the world and newly elected President of the „The Christian Council of Korea“, the Korean member body of the World Evangelical alliance.
The Global Forum for the Future of World Christianity (GFFWC) was founded in 2012 with the purpose to organize a global forum in which Christian leaders from around the world could contribute to setting a global agenda for the Christian churches as communities of faith. The goal is to build a space of personal engagement in which political and spiritual-theological pressing issues and challenges can be addressed in a spirit of mutuality and fellowship.
The Jeju Forum under the theme, “Christian Witness in Changing Global Landscapes” was the first of kind taking place in Korea itself and brought together 150 global Christian leaders from different traditions and contexts. Participants will be drawn from a select group of global Christian leaders, including a significant number of Korean Christian leaders. Jeju Island is a prominent recreation island 85 km south of Korea.
- Program (PDF)
- Flyer (JPG)
- Photo 1: Photo of the group
- Photo 2: from left to right: Samuel Kobi, former general Secretary of the WCC, ehemaliger Generalsekretär des ÖRK, Chang Sang, Generalsekretär des GFFWC, Agnes Abuom, Vorsitzende des Zentralauschusses des ÖRK, Thomas Schirrmacher, Josha Banda, Bischof der Assemblies of God, Zambia
- Photo 3: from left to right: Delegates from the USA Jim Wallis and Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, Joshua Banda, Bishop of the Assemblies of God, Zambia, Thomas Schirrmacher
- Photo 4: Thomas Schirrmacher with the moderator and the director of the Commission and Mission and World Evangelization Bishop Mor Geevarghese Coorilos, India and Jooseop Keum, Korea
- Photo 5: from left to right: Two pentecostal bishops from Zambia, Thomas Schirrmacher, Corneliu Constantineanu, Romania, Las Newman, Jamaica, Wonsuk Ma, Korea/Oxford